#1
I've been playing for about four years, all self taught. I see a lot of musicians play live, and then I hear myself and realize my notes don't "sing" as well as say Petrucci, or Dimebag's. Despite the fact I am far away from their technical prowess I'm still interested in how they get such clarity from every note no matter how fast they play. I've heard that you need to use a metronome with everything you do, and I have been and still haven't been getting the expected results.

Is there any specific exercises I can do to help with this? Or is it something I'm missing totally?
#2
It's not a matter of some magical exercise that makes you faster. It's a method and a philosophy that you have to apply to everything you play.

If you can't play it clear at a slow tempo, you'll never play it clear at a faster tempo. You need to slow things down until you can play it absolutely perfect, and then work from there. Absolutely perfect. The slightest errors here will be magnified when you play faster.

And when I say slow, I mean slow. I've started a lot of exercises as quarter notes at 40bpm.

Make sure every movement is as small and relaxed as possible. Efficiency is key. Try not to let your fingers come more than a half an inch away from the fretboard. It's good to go back and slow down things you can already play fast, just to get them a little bit more efficient.

Keep all that in mind, and drill scales and licks. Take three notes an a string and play them like that. Invent your own exercises. Paul Gilbert had a really simple one. Just frets 5, 7, and 8 on the B string, and then the 5th fret of the high E, and then back down. Play those six notes over and over, making sure it's perfect.

Don't fall into the trap of losing patience and screwing yourself over. Every time you screw something up, you're working backwards. Don't play at speeds that cause you to mess up, because you're imbedding the mistakes into your muscle memory, and creating more work for yourself.

Hope that helps.
#3
Thank you Mixolydian_Grey, looking back I've noticed I've been biting off a little to much then I can handle. This will definitely go into my repertoire of practice, and i'll be reworking my schedule.
#4
a tip or two...

as said before...SLOW is the key to clear...

visualize what you are going to play before you play it...concentrate..!

a good simple exercise....skip strings

string 6 play fret 5 7
string 4 play fret 5 7
string 5 play fret 5 7
string 3 play fret 5 7
string 1 play fret 5 7

then reverse...slow..practice until you can do this up and down CLEAR ... increase speed only after you can do this 6 times without a miss...

play well

wolf
#5
Playing clean and clear(i sound like a commercial )is about the syncronization of the hands.You have to hit the string the exact same time you fret the note.One a millisecond later or earlier and you wont have a crisp result.

Troy stetina went a little bit further with the name Transition Time.If you want your notes to be crisp,choppy and flow you need to speed up the transition time which is the time that happens after your play a note and before you play the next one.

Choose a low speed and do just that:Play a note,leave it to sound its whole value but when its time to play the next do it as sharply and quickly as possible.So you may be playing at 40 bpm for example but you go from one note to the next as snappily(i hope its a word ) as possible.

If you always practice like that when you eventually speed up your notes ll sound clean and articulate machine gun-like .
#6
Focus on technique. Obsess about the tone and quality of every note. Your playing should be slathered with technique to get specific sounds.

Those guys don't just do a thing that makes them sound good, they know how they want every single note to sound and apply specific techniques to achieve that sound.

Learn you scales/arpeggios in every key and then use every technique when you practice them: vibrato, slides, hammer/pull, staccato, legato... make the note sound meaningful.
#7
This brings me to my second question, I've learned the major scale and all of the positions but I don't know where to go from there. Thus when I play improvised solos they always sound the same. I'm unsure of what and how to practice and "Reinforce" the scales in my mind and actually know how to get the feeling I'm looking for.
#8
Quote by Elfy310
This brings me to my second question, I've learned the major scale and all of the positions but I don't know where to go from there. Thus when I play improvised solos they always sound the same. I'm unsure of what and how to practice and "Reinforce" the scales in my mind and actually know how to get the feeling I'm looking for.


Keep trying to improvise. Learn the scales and arpeggios up and down, backwards and forwards. Listen to guys you like and learn their solos.

You'll eventually get to a point where you just know what certain things sound like, and you'll be able to hear a lick in your head and execute it because you know where all the notes are.

The goal is to play phrases, not scales. Take just a few notes and try to make them sound musical. There's an exercise some famous guy did where he would play a solo with one note. You have to rely on rhythm and articulation to make it at all interesting.

Pick like three notes and restrict yourself to them, and then improvise. Incorporate bends, vibrato, slides, long notes, short notes, staccato, legato, etc. Try working with the pentatonic scale instead of the major scale for a bit. There are less notes to worry about.

Also try to use dynamics. Build up to a climax at the end of the solo, by going higher and faster.

Try to pay attention to the notes you land on. If your lick is over a G chord, landing on a G or D will fit well. Other notes sound different and create different harmonies. Experiment.

You sorta need to build up a library of licks in your head to put together when you improvise.
#9
also unless you have a recording studio and some good equipment, studio quality sound is very difficult to obtain